How Influential was Steven Mnuchin in Jerome Powell’s Nomination as Next Fed Chair?


Yesterday Donald Trump announced that Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell will be nominated to replace Janet Yellen as the next Fed chair. In the days leading up to the announcement Powell was widely expected to be the candidate of choice, but there is perhaps another element to this story which thus far has gained little attention.

On the 11th of October Politico ran an article suggesting that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had recommended Powell to the President and was ‘strongly pushing‘ for him to be chosen as Yellen’s successor. This was according to ‘three people close to the selection process‘. The article expanded on this by saying:

Mnuchin, who knows Powell well, feels comfortable with him and feels that he is a safe pick over whom Mnuchin can exert some measure of influence.

A week later and Politico ran a follow up article which stated that Donald Trump was now leaning towards selecting Powell for the job. The article claimed that Mnuchin was ‘leading the Fed chair search for Trump.’

The Washington Examiner picked up on the story and commented how CNBC had asked Mnuchin during an interview whether he favoured Powell to serve as chairman. Mnuchin said it would be inappropriate to comment on prospective candidates.

The Washington Post later chipped in by declaring that Powell had,

earned the respect of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Mnuchin is playing a central role in the selection process.

It should be stressed that there are no direct quotes from Mnuchin himself declaring his support for Powell. We cannot know for sure that he was directly influential in Jerome Powell being nominated.

What we have firmer evidence of, however, is Mnuchin’s involvement in a secret society run out of Yale University called ‘Skull and Bones‘ (or otherwise known as ‘The Order‘). In 2002 a reprint of Antony Sutton’s book – ‘America’s Secret Establishment‘ – contains lists of initiates into the society for the year 1985. Steven Mnuchin is one of those initiates:

MNU CHIN, Steven Terner, 721 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022

Former Presidents George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, were also members of ‘Skull and Bones‘. Only those who are students of Yale University are considered for membership.

Sutton goes into extended detail about the influence of this society, and how members of it have over the years been placed in key positions of power as a mechanism for influencing government policy in a certain direction. ‘Skull and Bones‘ is not a publicly recognised institution, unlike organisations such as the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. It’s existence is neither confirmed or denied by those who have been members.

Which perhaps makes it surprising that back in August 2016, Bloomberg published an article which expressly stated that whilst Mnuchin was the publisher of a student newspaper called, ‘Yale Daily News‘, he was subsequently ‘tapped into Skull and Bones‘.

Mnuchin later went on to become a partner in Goldman Sachs before founding ‘Dune Capital Management‘, with the help of billionaire George Soros. Last year, with no previous political experience, Mnuchin became Donald Trump’s finance chairman during Trump’s presidential campaign. After Trump’s victory he was nominated as Treasury Secretary and confirmed as such in February 2017. 

As time advances more may become known on the true extent of Mnuchin’s influence in choosing Jerome Powell as Fed chairman. What we know for certain is that his background is rooted firmly within the economic establishment, and as Treasury Secretary he is positioned close to Donald Trump and has open access to the President.

Mnuchin’s initiation into ‘Skull and Bones‘, and his present role in Trump’s administration, is perhaps an indication that the society yields sufficient influence in being able to elevate initiates into positions of authority and use government as a vehicle to acquire power over the legislative process.

CNBC: Trump picks Jerome Powell to succeed Yellen as Fed chair

  • President Donald Trump nominated Jerome Powell to run the Federal Reserve once current Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires, in a move widely expected and one unlikely to disturb the roaring stock market.
  • “Today is an important milestone on the path to restoring economic opportunity to the American people,” Trump said with Powell standing to his right and the prospective chairman’s family nearby. The president said the Fed requires “strong, sound and steady leadership” and Powell “will provide exactly that type of leadership.”
  • “He’s strong, he’s committed and he’s smart, and if he is confirmed by the Senate, Jay will put his considerable talents and experience to work leading our nation’s independent central bank,” Trump added.
  • “I’m both honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve our great country,” Powell said. “If I am confirmed by the Senate, I will do everything within my power to achieve our congressional assigned goals of stable prices and maximum employment.”


**Attribution for home page image – Kurtis Garbutt, Flickr **

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